Wardian & Glass Bowl Terrarium Inspiration + Tips on Creating One!

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The two photos of the Wardian cases were taken at The Philadelphia Flower Show where I have volunteered in the past. This year, show dates are March 5-13, 2016. I’ll be going as always and writing about it on Huffington Post.

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The Wardian case was devised by Nathanial Ward in 1829. A physician by trade and a botanist, he noticed a fern that he was growing in a sealed jar was flourishing in polluted London. Years later, he displayed a fern at The Great Exhibition in London–the fern hadn’t been watered in 18 years.

Terrariums are low maintenance miniature indoor gardens inside a glass container. Creating your own little garden oasis is easy. Choose among a wide variety of succulents and cacti or use tropical plants with ferns and moss; both plant combos require different soil and different amounts of water. Cactus soil is used for succulents and regular potting soil is used for tropicals and ferns.

To purchase one of my favorite books on creating terrariums, click here.

A Few Tips:

-Stick with mini plants that won’t outgrow the terrarium.

-Plants that prefer shade and that are tolerant of high humidity are best for terrariums. Think forests and woodlands.

-Use pea gravel and spread an inch or two at the bottom of a glass container.

-For beginners, start  by using an inexpensive 10-gallon fish tank. The large opening allows easy access. Fishbowls will work well too.

-Consider an optional layer of Sphagnum moss or burlap to prevent the dirt from seeping through the pea gravel.

-Add two or more inches of cacti soil or potting soil (depending on which plants you choose).

-Ferns, moss, ivy, pathos and bromeliads all do exceptionally well in terrariums.

-Water or mist sparingly; the goal is to create a microclimate.


When I was at The New York Gift Show a couple of weeks ago, I came across a booth of hanging glass terrariums in all shapes and sizes by Chive, based in Brooklyn. If t’s your first time creating a terrarium, start small with this one to hang somewhere in your home. It’s affordable at under $9.00 and it also makes a great little gift. I love giving them as hostess gifts.


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